t head out onto the lakes and ponds of southern New England WITHOUT a dry suit now. I’m not really a thinker and will pretty much do any stupid thing as long as some one says it’s OK so…….
Go to your anticipated launch site…
wearing your normal paddling gear, walk into the water, submerge fully and then swim around for as long as you think you might possibly be in the water if you should have an unexpected capsize. If you’re intending to be a 5 minute swim from shore, try to swim for 5 minutes. That will answer your question. Strongly suggest you have someone on shore with a drysuit to rescue you during this exercise. Water around here in upstate NY is still in high 30’s to low 40’s. Drysuit conditions for sure. Even if I’m never more than 1 minute from shore during the paddle.
just anxious. Last year I was all excited at ice out but I knew better and by the time it was “safe” to go into the water I had become interested in other rings and never got the time to go paddling. TO make maters worse some dud at work has taken to showing up with is boat on his car. Richard.
So let me get this straight…
If I told you it’s OK to jump off a cliff, would you do it ?
The key is to not put yourself in a position that will have you spending much time in the water or much time in wet clothing. So...if you don't stray far from shore and carry a dry change of clothes with you, packed so it will stay that way, you'll be OK.
An update from Southern New England on Apr 28. Water temp in local pond today is 52 deg. The air temp is 58 deg. Add them together and you have 110 deg which is the cutoff point below which the ACA recommends specialized clothing for paddling. That is never the whole story, but I maintain that a cautious person can paddle flat Southern New England waters today without a dry suit. The risk in an upset is discomfort, not death.
I can tell you its NOT Okay. But then
you already know that.
Adjust your paddling accordingly
1. Stay as close to shore as possible, like 20 feet. It’s much more interesting there anyway. Don’t make any open water crossings.
2. Check the weather report and choose a calm day.
3. Don’t paddle where there are currents.
I paddle without a wetsuit or drysuit from ice out (April) to ice in (late December) by doing the above in cold water. I accept a certain level of risk for an activity I love but minimize those risks by following the above. I’ve had two mishaps in 40 years, one minor and one major. They were due to violation of #1 and #2 above.
Many disagree with this so you will have to decide what YOU are comfortable with. This past weekend I paddled a New England lake and met many other paddlers. Not a single wetsuit among them.
Ditto Waterbird’s advice
As Waterbird said, check the forecast (I always check wind speed predictions, too) and stick close to shore. Less than two weeks ago, my favorite nearby flat water paddling spot was 95% covered with ice. Today, while paddling there for the first time this season, there was a young man swimming and playing in it for more than an hour (air temps in the 70’s here in the Green Mountains of VT). I had no desire to swim there, especially after seeing one of the biggest snapping turtles I’ve ever seen swimming there. I’ll stay in my 'yak, thank you very much!
Funny you mentioned that. I was out shore fishing last week end and saw one of those really big guys. It was pretty scary thing to look at.
Now that it’s almost June…
I Would Suggest You Move About
1,000 miles south. It would be much safer for you.
re water temp
in venice fl south of tampa—gulf temp is 84. below 78 is cool and affects my swim time measurably.
they’re all right… try it out before you fall in.